1 Corinthians 3:15 -but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire

De Maria's picture

For Catholics the answer is Purgatory.

What is the answer for Protestants?

1 Corinthians 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

JeffLogan's picture

Seeing what we want to see

jwmcmac wrotes - Just say you don't accept it . . . cause that is it . . . but don't say that it is not there . . . because it clearly and absolutely is there . . . to us who easily 'see' it.

Actually, I can think of a lot of scriptures which describe how our human condition can cause us to not "hear" what is there or twist what is there. So an argument which says "I see it so you should too" isn't a very good stance to take. When it comes to scripture, we are told, it must be spiritually discerned. So no amount of human exegesis or critical examination of the texts or comparison to other inspired writers is able to make plain to us what can only be made clear by the Holy Spirit.

For example, consider something very clearly stated in scripture--the teaching being developed from Genesis to Revelation--yet not understood. Take the very short and concise verse which says, "The wages of sin is DEATH." Now couple that with the famous verse in John 3:16. "...that who soever believeth in Him should NOT PERISH." And then add Jesus' words in Matt 10:28, "fear [God] who is able to DESTROY both body and SOUL in HELL." Yet, with that clear language to learn from people still think sinners will not die but will instead live forever in hell fire.

So you should not be so surprised that something you think you see others cannot so easily see. Especially, as in your case, there is no clear language to support that teaching. In the case I presented there is very clear language which says "the wages of sin is death." But you have nothing so plain to support the doctrine of purgatory. In fact, if you believed the verses I cited, that "the wages of sin is death," and "that who soever believeth in him should NOT PERISH," and, to "fear [God] who is able to DESTROY both body and SOUL in hell," then you could not accept the doctrine of purgatory because it is opposed to these scriptures which teach that the soul is not immortal but does die, can perish, and will be destroyed in hell.

What you claim is so clearly taught in scripture is only clear to your mind because you have been trained to interpret those scriptures in light of non-scriptural writings. In fact, the Council of Trent restated that if anyone opposed the teachings of the church they should be anathema. Strong words which should put fear in any mind that is a respecter of that institution. But it was for this very reason that Jesus spoke those words of comfort. "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." In other words, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." But rather, put your trust in Him who says, "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

When Jesus spoke those words, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell," he was assuring his disciples that though men could take this life from them they could not effect their eternal life. Only God can kill the body and the soul and that he will do in what we call "hell fire". So we should remain faithful to God without any fear of what men might do to us. They may rob us of this life but they cannot rob us of eternal life which is a gift from God. This promise must have been of great comfort to those who suffered death at the hand of so-called Christian institutions from the Synagogue to the Papacy to the Anglican church to Puritan America. With a past like that do we really have any just reason to condemn the radical Islamists whose aim it is to purge their world of infidels and heretics? Not really. Not unless we repent of our past and admit our sins. But that would imply that we are fallible.

Jesus told us that the righteous would always suffer at the hands of the self-righteous just as Able was slain for his righteousness by his brother Cain. The Jewish nation turned Christ over to the civil authorities to be crucified and in like manner the church has turned over her heretics to the state for punishment, even death by fire. And so we have the promise of Jesus who says, don't fear men who can only rob you of this life. In other words, don't fear the threats men can make against your life. Disregard their anathemas. Don't concern yourself with obedience to the precepts of men nor be afraid of their threats if you don't follow them. But rather, fear God who can remove your name from the book of life if you are disloyal to His government, His laws.

"Iniquitas mentita est sibi"

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."